A Tribute

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A Tribute

Leonard Freed

"Ultimately photography is about who you are. It's the seeking of truth in relation to yourself. And seeking truth becomes a habit."

Leonard Freed - born 1929, died Nov. 30, 2006.

I was 17 when Leonard came to our house in Zurich. With my mother Rosellina we traveled to Italy - their favorite destination I guess. On this trip the strong photographs of his essay "Black in White America" were on my mind - for those I admired him so much. I could not imagine that a man who walks around so gently was able to have such an impact with photography. On that trip I took a picture of Leonard: a black and white silhouette. That seemed to me the most appropriated - his attitude. Some years ago, I visited him in his romantic property upstate New York. We went trough his prints and I felt that clear view and consistency again. Leonard we'll never forget you! Marco and all my relatives
The loss of anyone is hard to take but the loss of someone so talented and influential is harder still. You will be missed. And your leaving behind many young photogrpahers who are walking around, Leica on their shoulder and B&W loaded. Always ready. Peace Jay
I met Leonard in 1998 when I was starting out as a Photographer. Spending three days on a workshop with him changed the way I looked at the world forever. I would like to say thank you Leonard for opening my eyes. Please pass on my heartfelt condolences to Leonard's family. Matt
thank you every one for your kind words when words are hardest to say , my dad ment everything in the world to me and I'm so happy he ment so much to so many others as well... He will never cease to inspire me ... thank you lenny xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxand many more
I met Leonard in Rome in 2001. We were in a restaurant and talked about photography until late at night, then we hoped to meet soon again. And it happened, always sharing our ideas on Photography. His humanity and the passion for his work made me ask him to work together on a project and soon we decided the subject: Venice. Since 2004 we took fotos of Venice staying in the city for some time every season of the year, with the pleasure of doing what we loved most. His shots were black and white, mine colored, days were never ending and Leonard looked indestructible! But Destiny has been unfair. In a few days the book will be on the shelves and he's not here to share the joy with us. Now I'm both the saddest and the prouder man in the world. I feel I've lost a father and a friend but his memory and work will always be here. A hug to his wife and daughter Claudio Corrivetti
I never knew Leonard, a fact that I will always regret. I met him once, at the "million youth" rally in Harlem. Some protestors had made a photocopy t-shirt out of his famous boys in Harlem photograph, and I watched as he introduced himself and joked with them. No copyright infringement for him, it seemed to me that he saw the use of his image in this way as the ultimate compliment, which it was. It is his photograpy which made me want to become a photographer, and I hope, some day, to honor his memory with a decent picture.
Thank you for all the inspiration you gave to many generations of photographers. I hope you'll find a better light.
77 years old? The Times must have it wrong. I could swear he was only about 40! Even though I knew him (and considered him a friend) for about 32 years, I can still feel his joie de vivre, his energy, his openess to adventure in trips and new experiences large and small, and his immense talent for wry observations. I cherish and will never let fade the memories of our shared experiences. But he was such a young man.....40 at most. Steve Ettlinger
“ We’re all seeking truth,” Leonard Freed told me, “in images or in stories. “We all have a need to believe in something that’s ultimately true. But everything around us is amusement and entertainment. Are we more than just chickens? If we are, we have to believe in something. “I believe in the rocks, the earth. I come from it, and I’ll go back to it. The question in photography is the same thing. With computers you can simulate anything. How does anyone know that the photographs I make are not staged? Trust me, when I photograph war, violence, love, there are no actors. It’s all real.” Freed takes me around the woods behind his country house, tells me tales of George Washington marching his men down a faded dirt road. We continue through the woods to a small circular clearing, He launches into a rap about the Indians gathering here once in a while before sunrise. It’s a good story, but not a true story. This is a Brooklyn guy telling Indian stories. He’s part of this land, he says, he believes in the Earth, he’ll go back to the Earth. This is a travelers Earth, a mythmaker. A giver, not a taker, of pictures. He reckons with his images out there, spread far across the rough spots of the world, with conflict and amazement, a roving eye but an exact eye. The world is not flattened into rectangles with his work, but given depth, freeze-frame emotion, rare but commonplace situations. Freed’s camera does not lie or explain, but it does reveal the remarkable juxtapositions that are happening all the time around us. We are all in the war zone, we are awash in conflict, astonishment, love. David Rothenberg, from Terra Nova, 1997
I had the tremendous privalege to meet Leonard Freed when I was a student at the Bezalel school of Art in 1972. A few of us wandered the streets of Jerusalem with Leonard, watching and trying to learn from the master. His critique of our work was so refreshingly honest, he trashed a photograph of mine that I thought was great, and I am eternally grateful to him to this day for opening my eyes. Honesty and Humility, that is my memory of Leonard Freed. Abba Richman, Jerusalem, Israel
In 1976 I was young and timid and knew nothing about photography, but I was working on what would be my first book: street prostitutes in Paris. A friend in my lab course, Patrick Bensard, offered to introduce me to someone who could give me advice. That person was Leonard Freed. Leonard became a mentor for me. He talked and critiqued and I listened to every word, soaking up his vast knowledge and his curious take on life. But the greatest gift he gave me was a firm belief in what I was doing. He never questioned why I wanted to photograph prostitutes, and always encouraged me to keep making those photos. I still have the letter he wrote me years later, suggesting it might be time to apply for a grant that had just been created: the W. Eugene Smith Award. As I grew up, plunged into subjects and did books, Leonard was there for all of it—listening, sharing, looking, analyzing. He was a thinker and a philosopher, not a fast-photo guy, all ego and bulldozer like so many today. More than a mentor, more than a friend, he became a photographic soul-mate, a reason to keep making pictures even when times were hard. He never stopped giving me all he knew and I never stopped learning from him. Leonard never got the credit he deserved for the enormous work that is his. Kind, generous, self-effacing—”sipping tea in the background”—he was interested in people and in making great pictures, not in self-promotion. Words are poor to express my grief. Thank you, Leonard. Thank you for everything. You are with me wherever I go. Jane Evelyn Atwood
In whatever hopeless ways we tried to express our sorrow to Brigitte on the telephone, it could not possibly reveal how terribly we felt and continue to feel about Leonard's death. We knew him for just about 15 years and we remember his first exhibition at Leica Gallery in 1996 and especially the fun of curating it with Brigitte. We remember visiting the two of them in Garrison and coming back to New York City with Leonard on the train. Throughout the years, there were constant meetings with Leonard in the gallery and at other events in the city - throughout it all, his kindly nature, his love of travel, and his interest in meeting new people never failed to impress us. When we worked with Leonard, he approached every project with enthusiasm, optimism, curiosity and joy - and it is these qualities that infused every photograph that he created. To us, in what we do, he represented, both in his own history and in his work, the very highest standards of photojournalism and photography. We had been looking forward to working with Leonard on our 100th exhibition this May - it was to be a full-retrospective of his career. Sadly, it will now be a memorial to him - Rose and Jay Deutsch / Directors, Leica Gallery, NYC
May he rest in peace
From yet another young photographer fortunate to be injected with Mr Freed’s true inspiration. His benevolence was a highlight during my internship in New York earlier this year. Yes, a truly inspiring person. Thank you Leonard Freed. Love Lucy. New Zealand.
In the early 1990s my molecules were rearranged by this glorious tome of photographs "In Our Time." It was a gift from my brother and I was instantly seduced. I had no idea one could do these things with a camera! Leonard Freed's photographs in particular leapt off the page and into my mind and I rushed immideately to a used book store in San Francisco in hopes of finding more of his work. And there it was, his glorious monograph. Day after day I enjoyed it and consumed what I could. The qualities of the photographs were very subtle but the power was overwhelming. Thank you Mr. Freed for helping open a door and an eye to a wonderful way of wandering the world. I appreciate it to no end and will always cherish your vision. Saludos, Michael Robinson Chavez
I shall never forget how Leonard came to see me, 42 years ago, at the Washington Post. I believe he was staying at the YMCA. He made no demands but impressed me with his dedication, his low-key humor and his talent. I was delighted when he later joined the Magnum family, and have since encountered him in Amsterdam, London, Paris, Arles, New York and other places. Leonard knew no boundaries. We loved you, Leonard!
I met Leonard in Venice, almost 2 years ago, in the Hotel where i was working. I was at the desk when i saw him with the camera in his hand but in the beginning i didn' t realize who he was , so we just started speaking a little about photography and i showed him some of my photos. He gave me good suggestions and then he took some portrait s of me, actually an entire roll. After that day i didn't have the occasion to see him anymore but i found one of his cards in my office wishing me all the best for my photography, in that moment i realized who was him! Anyway i am happy to have had the occasion to meet him and spending a nice moment together. It has been such a nice experience! I will never forget that day. Now i conserve that card in my room, i have it just in front of me. Thank you Leonard.
Thank you
When a writer writes ONE book during his/her life, that can be one of the best books ever. When a photographer shots ONE important photo (b/w or color), we might remember that work. But when he/she shots photos like these, we know the name Leonard Freed. We are sad to see millions of todays digital photos without A Photographer! Thank you, Leonard.


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